stone-fruit-caramel

Stone Fruit Caramel

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Belonging somewhere among jam, compote, and caramel sauce, this spoon-over-everything sweet-tart topping is made by thinning a caramel with fruit juice and vinegar rather than cream. The consistency of your final product will vary greatly depending on the nature of your fruit, like whether it’s super juicy or how much pectin it contains. Embrace the variance (and follow your instincts!)—it will taste great any which way. Mix and match the fruit and vinegar based on what sounds good to you and what you have on hand (maybe it’s plums and unseasoned rice vinegar, nectarines and sherry vinegar, or apricots and Champagne vinegar).

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What you’ll need

Ingredients

Makes about 1 cup

12

oz. ripe stone fruit (such as plums, peaches, nectarines, sour or sweet cherries, or apricots), pitted

2–3

Tbsp. vinegar (such as unseasoned rice, apple cider, sherry, Champagne, or red wine)

½

cup sugar

1

Tbsp. chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces

½

tsp. vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

¼

tsp. almond extract (optional)

¼

tsp. kosher salt, plus more

Preparation

Step 1

Coarsely chop half of fruit and place in a blender along with any juices that have accumulated on cutting board. Chop remaining fruit into ½”–1″ pieces (no need to chop if using cherries); set aside.

Step 2

Add 2 Tbsp. vinegar to fruit in blender. Purée until mostly smooth. Taste and add up to 1 Tbsp. more vinegar to brighten if needed. You should have ½–¾ cup, depending on the juiciness of your fruit.

Step 3

Pour sugar in an even layer in a medium heavy saucepan set over medium heat and cook, undisturbed, until most of the sugar is melted. Stir melted sugar gently into unmelted sugar until all of the sugar is melted. Continue to cook, without stirring, until caramel is amber in color, 7–10 minutes total. Remove from heat and immediately pour in fruit purée, stirring constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula. Don’t be alarmed if mixture seizes. Set back over medium heat; cook, stirring, until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Step 4

Add reserved chopped fruit, increase heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring, until caramel is bubbling and thickened slightly and fruit is warmed through, 2–5 minutes, depending on fruit. Remove from heat and stir in butter, vanilla bean paste, almond extract (if using), and ¼ tsp. salt. Taste and season with more salt if needed. Let cool slightly before serving.

Do ahead: Fruit caramel can be made 3 weeks ahead. Let cool. Transfer to an airtight container; cover and chill.

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